In 2000, The Undertaker had what we could all agree now was an identity crisis. He decided being so devoted to the Dark Side wasn’t where he wanted to take his life any longer. Gone were the caskets, the urn and Paul Bearer. In their place were sunglasses, a bandana and a bike. Enter the era of The American Badass Undertaker.
I liked this time frame as it freshened up the character a lot. Mattel already released an ABA Phase 2 with the haircut, but for Elite #69, we get Taker in his first run. Let’s see if this deserves to go on a last ride.
Packaging: The packaging is different than the norm here as get a blue and orange color scheme to match up with this line’s Summerslam theme.
I like when Mattel does this with the lines as it’s an easy way to break up the standard colors we’ve grown accustomed to for so many waves. It’s the same setup of information with the side portrait and the bio directly referencing Undertaker’s 2000 match with Kane.
Likeness: Sigh, there’s a lot to break down here so let’s just begin.
The head sculpt itself is great. It looks like Taker during this phase. Still, for most of his Phase 1 look Undertaker wore bandanas. This was probably one of those instances where Mattel could have just sculpted a bandana or better yet have an alternate head wearing a bandana and been better off.
He has a sculpted denim vest. Typically, Taker wore the vest untucked. This shirt mold looks very close to a small T-shirt giving Taker a slighter appearance. Ideally, Mattel would have gone with a cloth vest, which would have given Taker that extra bulk he needed.
For whatever reason, Undertaker looks like he’s all legs, but that’s consistent with other taller Mattel figures.
Scale: Undertaker is 6’10” making him taller than the 6’5” The Rock and looking up at his “brother,” the 7’ Kane. Taker stands about right although again he looks a little thin.
Paint: Undertaker let his red hair come back during this time period. The hair shade looks great. I would have liked Mattel to have done more with the denim aspect of the vest.
They’ve done that faded, worn appearance on some figures included the recent Royal Rumble Lita so Mattel can do it, just not in this instance.
Just because I was curious, I took a closer look at Undertaker’s tattoos and Mattel has done a really good job replicating them.
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Articulation: Undertaker has those pesky arm sleeves, which drastically reduce much of the elbow articulation. Some folks hate the notion, but I’d be fine with Mattel just sculpting or painting them since they affect the articulation so much. Naturally his hair affects some of his left to right movement as well.
My figure was one of the few Elite figures I’ve opened lately that had floppy joints with a loose torso and hip bar. That’s always frustrating. I’ll need to figure out something to tighten the joints, but it didn’t limit any pose potential.
American Badass Undertaker has:
- ball-jointed shoulders
- wrist hinge
- knees (double-jointed)
Accessories: ABA Taker comes with a hat. I spent about 20 minutes trying to find a reference photo with him in a hat during his Phase 1 look. Taker was all about the bandanas at this phase. Yes, he did rock a hat every so often, but that was a weird choice.
Easily the biggest omission here is the lack of a leather jacket. That was part of this whole iconic ABA look and seems like a poor cost cutting decision. He does come with sunglasses that fit snugly in his hair.
Taker gets a set of swappable open hands although they’re not as wide as I’d like for a chokeslam.
He also comes with the Kane mask from his match against the Big Red Machine. It’s a goofy inclusion and not really something that would be of much use.
Worth it? I got Undertaker for $15 on sale. That’s the ideal price for this line especially for figures that don’t have great accessories.
Rating: 6.5 out of 10
There’s too many issues with this figure to go higher than this score. I think with a bandana headsculpt, a cloth vest and a jacket this would be pretty close to an ideal ABA version.
Where to get it? You can get Undertaker at stores like Target and Wal-Mart, and you can also get him from Amazon.